This Just In: Week 23 Edition

All-Star DeAndre Yedlin reacts to the news he's now the cleat-shiner for Tim Cahill. - John David Mercer-USA TODAY Spor

In the world of professional sports, we see no shortage of well-written, well-researched articles that delve into the stories surrounding our favourite teams. The unfortunate side effect? Fake stories go begging, unnoticed and forgotten. In an attempt to reverse this shocking trend, Eighty Six Forever is proud to present a selection of stories that are completely, totally, absolutely false. Enjoy.

Zidane Objects to Davidson Head-butt

Thanks to a head-butt by Vancouver Whitecaps midfielder Jun Marques Davidson, the Whitecaps will continue to be short-handed for their upcoming Cascadia Cup match against the Portland Timbers. It's a tough blow to the 'Caps, who are also without Gershon Koffie (yellow card accumulation), Jay DeMerit (injury), Andy O'Brien (injury) and Kenny Miller (injury). Davidson has expressed remorse for his actions, though said actions have given fresh fuel to the rampant debate over whether or not Davidson warrants a place in the starting eleven. While debate isn't unusual in Vancouver sports circles, some of the criticisms are raising eyebrows; specifically, those by French legend Zinedine Zidane.

"It's absolutely preposterous," said a visibly angry Zidane in an interview with L'Équipe. "I see people referring to this incident as 'Zidane-esque' or 'Zidane-like' and it offends me to my very core. How many World Cups or Golden Balls has this Davidson won? Zero? Then nothing he can do now or ever will be 'Zidane-like'."

Zidane turned and spat on the floor in disgust before continuing. "It's a joke; an absolute joke. Where does this Davidson play? Some far-flung Major League Soccer club? So, not Real Madrid? Oh, how interesting. Not 'Zidane-esque'. How many Champions League titles does he hold? None? How terrible. Not 'Zidane-like'. Was he defending the honour of his sister against some disgusting Italian reprobate? No? He got kicked in the head? Cry me a river, little princess. Not even close to 'Zidane-like'."

Zidane ranted for another twenty-three minutes on this theme, occasionally picking up his various winner's medals and individual trophies to emphasize his point before head-butting the reporter and storming out of the studio with an angry cry of "ZIDANE!".

Result of All-Star Game Triggers Numerous Penalties for MLS

To say there was a palatable sense of confidence going into the 2013 MLS All-Star game may be understating things just slightly. From the provocative advertising ("Rome wasn't built in a day; see it fall in 90 minutes!") to the self-encouraged proclomations by fans and pundits alike that a hastily arranged collection of star players could indeed pull another upset against a top-notch European team, it was nearly a foregone conclusion that AS Roma would be in for a world of hurt.

Unless you work, cheer or play for AS Roma, that is. In what hindsight tells us was a no-brainer from the first whistle, the Serie A visitors dispatched the MLS All-Stars by a final score of 3-1.

You may be forgiven for thinking that MLS would get off easy following this friendly defeat, having only to eat some crow and return next year slightly more humble. Oh, how wrong you would be, theoretical optimistic person. Sadly, in a classic example of overplaying one's hand, MLS commissioner Don Garber didn't just hype up the game, he put down a series of wild, bizarre bets on the game, thinking his All-Stars would never be in danger of losing. As a result, changes are afoot for Major League Soccer, much to the dismay of fans, players and potential investors everywhere. Here is just a sample of the new landscape for North American soccer:

  • All teams will be required to change their names to reflect their kit sponsor, a la the New York Red Bulls; get ready for the Columbus Barbasols, the Portland Alaska Airlines and the Vancouver Bells!
  • Draws in regular season matches will be eliminated and replaced with penalty kick shootouts after 90 minutes. Said Garber at the time, "People love winners - let's give the fans a winner every night! Why did we ever get rid of that rule in the '90s?"
  • The Supporters' Shield will be shipped to Rome and repurposed as the tongue in a massive statue of Francesco Totti.
  • All three of MLS' qualification berths for CONCACAF Champions League will be transferred and split between the NASL, the USL and a lucky amateur rec league to be determined by North American lottery.
  • Major League Soccer will officially be re-branded the "European Retirement League", complete with a stipulation that only players 30 years and older may be signed. All players under the age of 30 will immediately be released from their contracts and be forced to work as ball kids and cleat-shiners for MLS ERL.

Said a disillusioned Garber after the match, "I knew we should've gone back to East vs. West."

Ghost of Thorrington Not Gone After All, Say Paranormalists

In our first installment of This Just In for the 2013 season, we brought you the uplifting story of how the Whitecaps injury bug could be traced to the vengeful spirit of injury magnet and bonafide zombie John Thorrington. Thanks to a timely exorcism, it appeared the Whitecaps were on the road to recovery - a thought supported by the rapid healing of what looked to be a season-ending injury to team captain Jay DeMerit.

Fast forward to today and, according to Vancouver's paranormalist community, the ghost of the ex-Whitecap and current D.C. United (now known as D.C. Volkswagen - damn you and your bets, Garber!) has managed to re-establish itself at the vending machines near Section 246 of BC Place. Upon hearing of this, Vancouver defender Andy O'Brien looked relieved. "For the life of me, I couldn't figure out why this damn knock wouldn't go away. With the ghost of Ol' Thorry back, it all makes sense. Guess I'll just have to be patient and hope for the best." Shortly afterwards, O'Brien was beaned by a poorly struck Russell Teibert free kick and is now out for the rest of the season with concussion-like symptoms.

Once news of Thorrington's re-possession got out, a frustrated Martin Rennie broke off from a training session and immediately demanded his money back from the paranormal exterminators he hired last time. They refused, citing the progress of DeMerit as proof that, while the ghost may be back, the Whitecaps are not cursed. "Jay has made phenomenal progress from an injury many supporters thought would spell the end of his season," said the lead paranormalist as DeMerit went through another round of training drills nearby. "How can you say he's cursed? If anything, he's blessed with machine-like endurance."

"Yes," said DeMerit, his face briefly resembling that of Robert Patrick. "Machine-like. Indeed."

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